Dutch politician Geert Wilders guilty of group insult, cleared of inciting hatred

Sept. 4 (UPI) — Dutch far-right legislator Geert Wilders won a partial victory Friday, when an appeal court reversed a lower court conviction of inciting hatred or discrimination, but concurred on a charge of group insult.

Wilders, leader of the Party for Freedom, or PVV Party, led an anti-Moroccan chant during an election rally in 2014.

A lower court found him guilty of groepsbelediging, or group insult, along with inciting hatred or discrimination. In the Netherlands, it is against the law to deliberately insult a group of people because of their race, religion or conviction.

The appeals court ruled that Wilders’ comments were needlessly offensive to the Moroccan people, and that he knew they would cause controversy. But in dropping the inciting hatred charge, the court said Wilders’ actions were “not aimed at encouraging his public” to act out in a discriminatory or hate-filled manner.

Wilders and his attorney had argued all charges should have been dropped because the legislator was legally expressing his feelings in regards to riots in The Hague and Utrecht and the prosecution of his comments amounted to political interference.

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